LGBT Visibility Is All-Time High on TV, But Favors White Cisgender Men

Will and Jack

There have never been so many LGBT characters on television.

So says a new report from GLAAD, a prominent media organization, which reported an all-time high in visibility in its 22 years of monitoring TV.

According to the "Where We Are on TV" report, 6.4 percent of series regular characters on broadcast television were LGBT in the 2017-18 season, accounting for 58 of 901 roles.

And in a first, asexual (Raphael on Freeform’s Shadowhunters and Todd on Netflix’s BoJack Horseman) and nonbinary characters made debuts in streaming and cable — although these roles tended to be small. There are still no asexual characters on broadcast.

However, diversity is still lacking, as 55 percent of LGBT roles on network television are male and cisgender. Moreover, across all platforms, most of these characters are white — 77 percent on streaming, 62 percent on broadcast, and 64 percent on cable.

Sarah Kate Ellis, CEO of GLAAD, stressed the importance of visibility in a time when LGBT rights are under attack by the Trump administration.

“As LGBTQ acceptance in government and the broader American culture reverses course, television is a critical home for LGBTQ stories and representation matters more than ever,” said Ellis.

“At a time when the Trump administration is trying to render LGBTQ people invisible, representing LGBTQ people in all of our diversity in scripted TV programs is an essential counterbalance that gives LGBTQ people stories to relate to and moves the broader public to support LGBTQ people and families.”

Read the full report at GLAAD.org.  

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